Leicester City are facing a talent exodus as players jump ship. Here is why the Foxes should look to sign Fulham midfielder Tom Cairney for the 23/24 season.
The King Power club will need reinforcements for the midfield, especially with the players who are set to leave – or will inevitably leave – setting off for new challenges. James Maddison and Youri Tielemans are the prime examples, but Wilfred Ndidi and even Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall might not be untouchable this transfer window.
Leicester City target Tom Cairney
Reports claim that the Foxes are interested in Fulham midfielder Tom Cairney. At 32-years-old, the English playmaker is not a long term option for the Championship side, instead, likely an option off the bench or possibly an integral player for a season or two.
So, let us have a look at what makes this midfielder the right option for Leicester: position, style, and value. Transfermarkt – using estimates based upon starting position – state the player has primarily been utilised in two areas: attacking and central midfield. Personally, I feel a player who can be used in both positions is useful, although it is more the style of play which makes Cairney a good bet.
The King Power club are losing a progressive juggernaut and creative maestro from their midfield lineup. Can Cairney replace either James Maddison or ‘Starman’ Youri Tielemans? No. Not at all. However, in the Championship the player can offer something neither of them could have: experience of the promotion battle.
Further, according to FB Ref, when judged against CM players from across the top five European leagues, the experienced playmaker is within the 95th percentile for progressive passing, 93rd for progressive carries, and 95th for shot creating actions. Although not the most creative, the Englishman is far more important than just that: he gets the ball forward.
From defence to attack, Cairney is the one who changes the tempo, builds the initial phases of attack, and uses both strength and passing ingenuity to move possession further up field. It is undeniable that we are losing this with Tielemans’ move to Aston Villa.
On top of this, City can look forward to a cheap addition to the squad. With so many leaving, and so many needing to be signed, it is sensical to save money with experienced Championship talent to fight for promotion. Cairney only has a single year on his Fulham deal, so the Foxes could strike a budget-friendly and optimum deal for the talent.
The player is progressive, experienced, and clearly inexpensive. The Foxes should move for the player swiftly to replace those leaving the side. The depth the Englishman offers will be invaluable in a promotion battle.